It’s that time of the year again. Christmas is behind us and for too many the debt to pay it off is waiting around the corner. The new year is just over the horizon and here and there are discussions and reminders about New Year’s Resolutions. I’ve not really been a fan of resolutions for quite some time and honestly, I seem to hear less about them than in days past. However, I expect that is because my life has become more solitary than in days past. More important to me than resolutions for next year are the reflections of the past year.

Whether they be about diet, exercise, improving relationships, moving ahead at work…whatever we feel a need to improve upon, resolutions generally fail. Perhaps they were more difficult than we expected. Perhaps they were rushed into without fully considering why they are on the list or the real implications of making huge changes.

To me, looking back at the year past to identify disappointments and shortcomings with the intent to learn from them is fundamental to making any lasting changes. Last year, I decided to make a concerted effort to address the lonliness and desire to share more of my life with someone. This followed a year in which I determined to get out to be more social, to work out every day to just put myself out into the world and see what would happen. Though there were bright moments, the last two years crashed about two months ago. Frustration and disappointment came together to cause me to give up on the idea that I simply needed to put my guard down and meet more people.

What brought this to a head was the recognition that life was otherwise going quite well and with the exception of having somebody close to share that with, I was very happy and content. Thinking that there was more that I was missing and then pursuing that notion actually brought more disappointment. Time and resources spent in pursuit of that took from the other things I had come to enjoy. Sadly when one finds the days getting shorter, time becomes even more valuable.

I doubt that I am the only person on the earth that has experienced leaving happiness behind in pursuit of something that they ‘thought’ would bring them more happiness. How often do we buy things we don’t need at all because someone convinced us it would make us happier? In the process we lose track of what we have, the relationships we already have, of the joy that can be found in the most simple things right in front of us.

If you’re one that likes to look forward at this time of the year and determines to make changes that are promised to improve your happiness in the coming year, don’t forget to reflect back through the previous year and think about why you’re here doing the same things yet again.

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